Blog to Book Project — Using a Book Trailer to Market Your Self-Published Book

There’s no question that people are watching more videos these days. One billion hours of YouTube videos are watched per day. YouTube is the second most popular site on the internet these days (right after Google).

Facebook video is another up and coming option you should be aware of. Statistics show that 11 percent of all Facebook posts are videos and this platform generates 8 billion video views per day.

You can capitalize on all those video hours by creating your own book trailer. It’s a little out of the norm and will get more attention than a traditional book review or social media advertisement.

Now, the thing with a book trailer is you want it to be knock-their-socks-off good. If friends and family cringe when they watch it, well, perhaps it won’t be as successful as you’d like it to be. On the other hand, a professional and interesting book trailer demonstrates that you are a good storyteller across mediums, and prompts more interest in your book.

So here are some tips when designing a riveting book trailer.

  • Think about your typical reader and adapt the trailer to appeal to them specifically. If your book is a romance, then make your trailer romantic. If it is a mystery, then create a suspenseful trailer.
  • Hook your reader with a compelling video, not a summary of your book. You could focus on the problem the character in your book faces or the solution your non-fiction book provides the reader.
  • Keep it short. Aim for at least 30 seconds, but less than 2 minutes.
  • Use professional photos and graphics. There’s a lot of competition out there and you want your book trailer to stand out. Make sure to get permission to use images that are not your own.
  • Consider hiring an expert. Making a quality video, even a short one, incorporates many technical skills. If you aren’t skilled in video production, find someone to help you. Animated videos especially need the expertise of professionals.
  • If your book is nonfiction you could create an author video that demonstrates your expertise on the subject of your book. Consider your personal appearance if you do. Pay attention to what you are wearing, the background, and how well you articulate your words.
  • If you want to enact a scene from your book with real people, get actors to play the parts. Visit your local theater or advertise online. A professional voice actor is another possible way to get just the right tone for your book trailer.
  • Background music is a way to make text and images more memorable. Be sure to get permission to include it or use royalty-free music.
  • Make sure to include a call to action at the end of the trailer. Tell the viewer where your book is available for purchase.
  • Share the video everywhere! Add it to your author website, share it on social media, and upload it to YouTube. The more you share it, the more chance you’ll have to get the attention of potential readers.

There are several free or low-cost sites that can help you create a book trailer. Windows users can download Movie Maker or Photo Story. Mac computers have iMovie software already installed. You can use Powerpoint to create a presentation then export it as a video. Prezi also has a free version.

Assignment: Create a book trailer.

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Click on the image for a preview!

Blog to Book Project –Amazon Ad Campaigns

Amazon offers a way to reach more potential readers through Amazon Advertising. These ads are run on a cost-per-click auction based model. That means Amazon holds a real-time auction every time someone does a search to determine which ads will appear based on relevancy. The cost-per-click, your “bid” is the amount you choose to pay if someone actually clicks on your ad.

Amazon will always choose the highest bid within the category to display since it will make them the most money. So suppose you have a book about canaries that you want more people to be aware of. Amazon suggests that you bid $0.70 but the bid range for that category is ($0.40 – $1.40). You decide to go with the custom bid of $0.70. However, someone else has a book about canaries and their bid is $1.40. Amazon will choose to show that bid more often than yours when the criteria is met in a search. 

Your book cover and book content have to meet certain requirements to even be considered. To see the complete list of prohibitive cover images and book themes, you’ll need to read through Amazon’s book ad policies.  

Currently, you can run Sponsored ads on Amazon in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Lockscreen ads are only available for the US. 

You can advertise books written in languages other than English, but all language in the ad must match the language of the Amazon site where the ad is running. For example, if you want to advertise a book written in Japanese on Amazon.com, the ad must be in English. Also, book titles must clearly state if the book isn’t in the language of the Amazon site where the ad is running.

If potential readers click on your ad, they’ll be taken to the detail page of your book on Amazon. Therefore, before you set up an ad campaign, you should make sure that the layout is eye catching and the book blurb is interesting. Check the visual appeal of your book cover, too.

Creating an Ad Account

To begin, go to your KDP bookshelf and select a book you want to run a campaign for. Choose Promote and Advertise under the ellipses.

Then you’ll want to look at the Run an Ad Campaign section. Choose a marketplace from the available options. 

You’ll be taken to a screen that forces you to accept Amazon’s policies before continuing.

Once you do so, you’ll see that there are two options to choose from: Sponsored products and Lockscreen Ads. 

Sponsored products are those that you see across the top after you search for a particular book topic. Lockscreen ads appear on Kindle and Kindle Fire devices of people that have read a book related to one of your target words in the past. Lockscreen ads are only available for eBook promotions, not paperback.  We will discuss these individually in future posts.

Assignment: Set up an Amazon Ad Account

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Blog to Book Project — Pinterest for Authors

If you are like me, a bit of an introvert, social media interaction is downright painful. Lack of Likes and trolls can mess with your self-esteem. What if there were a non-communication social platform you could use? Would you do it?

Well, there is! Pinterest! You don’t have to like everything you see, engage in potentially controversial group conversations, or worry sharing too many posts. You get in, pin some things and get out, just like that!

As a writer, you can create boards for writers or readers. Pin your favorite books, authors, book quotes, motivational phrases, and writer woes. If you write an article on your author website about the top 10 best ways to promote your self-published book on Amazon, include a pinnable image in the article and pin it.

You can also create boards for each of your books. This isn’t a promo board, but rather of pictures of your research. Take a look at how the author of Deadly Kin did this. Her profile picture lets us know she writes Regency romance type books. She’s listed the research books she used and then look at the images she included. You can bet your bottom dollar that a couch like The Knole Sofa pictured is a key point in the book. Intriguing, right?

Even if you already have a personal Pinterest account, you’ll want to use a business account for the analytics aspect. You can transfer your personal account to a business account (and make boards you don’t want the world to see hidden) without too much difficulty. 

To do this, log in and click the three dots (…) that are in the upper right hand corner. Choose : Add a free business profile. Decide on topics that describe your business, as well as adding the business type, name, email, and website. If you have an author Instagram, Etsy or Youtube account, you can link them up to Pinterest. You’ll be given the option to copy boards from your personal profile. If you want to start fresh, you’ll be taken to the area where you can create your first Pin. 

Pinterest templates Landing Page

I absolutely LOVE Canva for creating Pinnable images.

Once you have an image, to create a pin, click on the plus sign in the upper right hand corner.

Upload your image. Write a headline and short description. Add the link you want people to go to if they click on the pin. Choose a board to pin your pin to. Publish now or schedule it for later and that’s it.

Spend some time scrolling through your Pinterest feed. Go ahead and add pins to your boards gleefully. If you come across something worth pinning in your web browsing, do it! It only takes a few seconds. Pinning from the site itself keeps the image connected to the right content so other people can enjoy that little tidbit too.

Assignment: Create your Author Pinterest account.

Authors’ Revolution Workbook by B. Alan Bourgeois

Unbelievably, I did it again. I choose a workbook to review without having read the main book that the workbook as a companion for. This time I chose Authors’ Revolution Workbook by B. Alan Bourgeois and had high hopes. After all, I am a self-published author myself and am always on the lookout for tips. 

My reaction towards this book was mixed. There were excellent bits of information for authors that help them look at the publishing dream reaslitistically. The graphics were also very useful as visual representations of that reality. The Cost of Publishing Worksheets were worthwhile additions. Using them, an author could compare his or her costs to the average amounts spent by authors in the creation, publishing and marketing areas. Becoming a successful published author isn’t an overnight event as the uninitiated might believe. 

The companies and organizations that were listed under different headings were also practical resources. Each company or feature was classified by average price and services offered. There were listings for places to have your book reviewed, marketing and publishing companies, and useful social media tools. There was even a section on companies to avoid. 

You may ask, with all these beneficial guides included, why have I not given this a five-star rating? That’s a fair question. Yes, the workbook contained great resources for authors. However, I didn’t feel that it was enough for the workbook to stand on its own. In fact, the workbook would have done better to be included as an appendix in the main book. 

There was also inconsistent capitalization throughout the text, as if headings had been copied and pasted from another source. Then there were an overwhelming number of blank pages. There were no exercises to complete or self-reflective questions to respond to as might be expected in a workbook with lots of space to respond. In fact, the only work in this workbook were the The Cost of Publishing Worksheets and a question about your book’s launch date.

Finally, there was a second author bio included at the end of the book. The first bio was shorter and placed at the beginning of the workbook so readers had a general idea who the author was and why he was qualified to bring us this workbook. However, a second author bio which said pretty much the same thing was really unnecessary. 

So even though I found much of the information in Authors’ Revolution Workbook by B. Alan Bourgeois useful, I find myself unable to justify its existence apart from the main book, which I have not read.  

I received an advance review copy from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.